Angola heads to the polls ending Santos’ 38-year rule

Angola heads to the polls ending Santos’ 38-year rule

Angolans are voting on Wednesday in an election that marks the end of the 38-year rule of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, ushering in a new era for the country.

Dos Santos has endorsed his defense minister, Joao Lourenco to succeed him to replace him and no change is expected in policies if Lourenco wins the polls.

Santos remains the leader of his MPLA party, which is expected to defeat the opposition frontrunner, Isaias Samakuva of UNITA and win the majority of parliamentary seats.

Samakuva, 71, took over UNITA after longtime rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was killed in 2002, a death that marked the beginning of the end of the civil war.

Lourenco, 63, hopes that he can retain most of the 72 percent of votes Santos won in 2012 amid allegations of irregularities.

Lourenco is certain he can perform an economic miracle in the Southern African nation besieged by poverty and a drop in oil prices. He has pledged to fight corruption and curb inflation, which has hit an all time high of 40 percent in recent months.

Human rights activists say the country’s deteriorating rights situation will not improve and accused the ruling party of using state resources for campaigning.

African countries are sending election observers but the EU declined to send a full-fledged observer mission citing restrictions by the Angolan government.

Comments are closed.